What We Do

The Center for Responsible Shale Development affects shale development most visibly through our rigorous performance standards and our third-party certification process. Our standards strengthen our communities, protect our environment, and help advance new technology in shale development.

Our approach has been recognized by the National Governors Association, Harvard Business School, the National Research Council, University of Michigan’s Sustainability Institute and others as a meaningful approach to minimizing environmental risks associated with shale development.

Our performance standards drive leading practices that meet, and in most instances exceed, regulations. They are not a replacement for regulation, but we believe they are complementary to regulation.



Our performance standards were developed by a collaborative effort among shale development companies and environmental organizations.

The resulting 15 shale development standards are designed to be more stringent and in-depth than those required by state and federal governments. Our standards address crucial facets of shale development, including:

  • Zero contamination of Surface Water and Groundwater
  • Maximizing Water Recycling
  • Impoundment Integrity
  • Surface and Groundwater Monitoring
  • Well Casing and Cementing
  • Comprehensive Pre-Drilling Site Review
  • Emergency Response Planning
  • Leak Prevention Protocols
  • Reduced Toxicity in on-site materials
  • Closed Loop Drilling
  • Groundwater Protection Plans
  • Limitations on Flaring
  • Reduced Engine Emissions
  • Increased Emission Controls on Storage Tanks
  • Green Completions


Certification logo

Our certification process is based on shale development companies meeting our performance standards. Our commitment to transparency includes publishing summary audit reports on our website.

Companies seeking certification are subject to rigorous evaluations via impartial third party verifiers. To maintain certification, companies must commit to on-site well pad visits and follow-up reviews during the two-year certification period.

Currently Certified Companies